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Leasing Consultant of the Year, Brittany Boone McDowell, NALP, Lincoln Property Co.


How did it feel when they called your name? I was surprised and honored to be receiving the award. I was mostly shocked!


How did you get started in the industry, and how long have you been involved with the multifamily industry? A friend kept telling me how much she loved her job and how she thought I would be a perfect fit in this industry. It took a few months, but I finally gave in and agreed to work part-time while going to school and working two other jobs. When my property manager, Tiffany Rose, approached me about going with her to a new amazing property, I could not pass up the opportunity. Her only request was that I quit my other two jobs and work for her full-time, which was the best decision I ever made. Two years later, I am still here and am now the property manager at The Fountains at Memorial City.


What is your favorite part about your job? My favorite part of my job has always been helping people find the perfect home. I knew growing up and all through school I wanted a career that enabled me to help people in some way. This is not quite what I was envisioning at the time, but I love it. I have never been a good salesman, but I do truly care about helping people who need to find their next home, and that is what has made me successful in my career.


What does a typical day entail for you? Total craziness, and I love it. No two days are ever the same.


Who were some of your mentors, and what effect did their guidance have on you? Tiffany Rose has been the most influential mentor throughout my journey with Lincoln Property Co. She transformed my job into a career. Tiffany pushed me to get involved with HAA, signed me up for any and every training class offered within our company and with HAA and just continued to push me each day at work.


Heath Campbell has been a very encouraging mentor for me as well. He is the regional training director for Lincoln. As he contin- ues to grow, he is always sharing and passing on knowledge, advice and positive guidance to whomever will listen! He is a sponge for information, and being around him makes me want to be better and work even harder.


What role has HAA played in your career? HAA has always been a great support system and a reliable source for continued education. I earned my NALP this past year and met so many inspiring leaders in this industry. It is so encouraging to know that there is support beyond Lincoln Property Co. or what- ever company you might work for. I love going to Houston events and seeing familiar faces from other companies all over the city. I look forward to future growth and will lean on HAA for the knowledge and support needed to get me there!


50 AUGUST 2012 ABODE


relationship with those people. Before, there wasn’t one. Gregg: I agree. There have been times when I


wasn’t able to make a call. I had to just miss it, and I had (a manager) talk to the owner directly. “Here, why don’t you just call Christy directly today. You guys can chat about what- ever’s going on. Y’all just let me know.” Rose: Oh sure, and that’s the way it should


be. That’s what I appreciate that we’re able to do now. Gongora: And the technology has really


helped a lot. We don’t have to go back to doing handwritten leases or anything like that. Rose: That typewriter thing? Gregg: That did suck. That and the DOS


applications we were using. Ugh. Gongora: That actually gives the office staff


more time to spend with the residents, mak- ing sure that they’re taken care of. Also, the entire property staff can get more involved. Before it was just the manager, and now everybody gets involved. Rose: We also seem like we’re hiring more


highly educated leasing people from the beginning and really wanting to move those people up, training them. So I think our stan- dards of hiring have increased over the years. I know mine has for sure. Billig: And I’ll throw in a plug in there for


the U of H/HAA Task Force – that does indi- cate that there is a movement, not only toward property management, but on a gradu- ate level. I know they want to get it on an undergraduate level as well, but there is a move toward that because there is not only that need, but also specific training. Someone with a business degree could probably walk into a lot of jobs and do it, but … I don’t know that you take even a grad student and throw him in as a property manager. Gregg: No, there’s a lot to be said for the


experience of working your way up through the ranks.


That leads nicely into my next question – what role does HAA play in your work and your career and what you do on a daily basis? Gregg: The education programs that I’ve


gone through with HAA have really been ben- eficial. I got my CAPS back in 2008. You go through a lot of these things in these classes, and it’s kind of common sensical, but you still learn something from each of those classes, and that has really helped me out a lot in my career. I’ll tell you what’s helped even more than


just the education is the relationships I’ve been building with other people in the indus-


try, not only on the management side, but on the vendor side. That’s really helped me a lot. They’re not only work relationships, but they’re friendships I’ve built that I’ll have the rest of my life, probably. Billig: The networking and the relationships


that you build stay with you forever … so you hang onto those, and you don’t burn bridges, unless you mean to. And then the education, of course – but there’s also some involvement in there, whether it be going green (Ventura Lofts was Houston’s first certified Go Green Community), the outreach committee, the PAC committee. There’s a lot of involvement from almost any level. And the fact that I can sit in on some level of the political action committee is nice. Rose: I think it’s such a joint effort if you’re


in property management. You’re missing so much if you’re not involved in HAA. The more people you get to know and form a rela- tionship with, the more successful you are in the business, I have found. I feel like I can do my job a little easier the more people I meet at HAA and the more I sort of involve myself in committees and volunteer efforts. I always have thought that that really has helped my career grow. Billig: It’s also a sanity check – “So I’m not


going crazy. It’s happening to you, too!” (laughter) Gongora: It keeps everyone involved and


helps with the networking. Being at the prop- erty, it’s really a 24-hour-a-day job, so you get to kind of break away and see what other properties are doing and communicate with them. Steidl: I agree about the educational courses


as well. I completed my CAM last year, and I really took a lot away from that that I was able to implement back on the property. The same thing with the networking – I think it’s so important to be able to meet people that work for different companies and grow your relationship with vendors and just expand your network. I think it’s really important in this business. Gongora: We were looking for a vendor,


and where do I look? On the HAA website. It’s great. Billig: I think we run into so many peers,


even just at this last event, that you do get a chance to (ask), “What are you doing? How are things?” … I’d like to see a nice mentoring program within HAA so that managers can be mentored by supervisors, managers can men- tor assistants, and we have some standards in place. Any opportunity we can to train up and keep our business professional.


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